You can be fined for various reasons. For example, you could be fined for littering or speeding. There will be a period where you will be expected to pay it. However, it is also fair to ask- what happens if you can’t pay a fine (whether you are unable to or choose not to)?

Ideally, you should pay a fine when you are asked to. For example, with a parking ticket, you pay less if you do so in the initial first few days. However, if you refuse and people cannot contact you, there is a very real possibility that a warrant will be sent out for your arrest. It is also possible that money could be deducted from your wages, or bailiffs could be sent out to your property. This is done to recover the costs from your personal items. If bailiffs are sent to your home, then there is the chance that their fee could be added to the initial fine.

If you are then arrested, there are a couple of possibilities. Depending on the verdict, you could be sentenced to community service hours, or in more extreme circumstances there is the chance that you could be sent to prison.
In the case of prison time, it could result in spending days or even months in prison. Furthermore, there is the problem that comes with having to explain your criminal record before applying for jobs, and this could have implications for your credit rating, which has further implications when applying for loans or mortgages.

Who decides?
Ultimately a court will look at your circumstances. In some cases, they may decide you are unable to pay the fine, and they will keep this in mind. However, if they feel that you are capable of paying the fine, but you are avoiding payment, then it is likely that you will face a heavier punishment.

What can I do?
If you know that you are not able to pay, it is vital that you make this clear as soon as possible. It may be possible to offer a partial payment and then be granted an extension. Alternatively, you may voluntarily ask for prison time rather than the fine.
It is also possible to pay via instalments. This can be done via the phone, bank transfers or a Direct Debit. If you agree to pay by instalments, it is vital that you keep up the payments.

Get help
If you are in a difficult situation and you are struggling to pay a fine, it is important to remain calm. Having an experienced legal professional to hand can help guide you through your options, as well as representing you in court.
At Larcomes, the motto is “Big enough to specialise, small enough to care.” As well as the resources needed to represent you, we can also help you through difficult and stressful situations. If you would like to know more, please contact us today so we can give you an initial consultation and see how we can help.